Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Thoughts on Microsoft/Sony conferences at E3:

Hello Writing Rogues!!!

I don't know how many of you guys are gamers but I know Isaac and I are, so here's my review of the 2 conferences I was most looking forward to, Microsoft and Sony at the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Microsoft came out swinging with a Metal Gear Solid V trailer, showing that, yes, the Xbox One is still about the games, taking what was traditionally a Sony based IP and showing it off on their stage. They continued to crank out game after game, Forza 5, Dark Souls II, Project Spark, The Witcher 3, all of which were visually stunning and looked wildly entertaining and games across both the current and next generation. As a fan of The Witcher, I was glad to see that an open world game was in the works, and I look forward, greatly, to  playing it. Project Spark showed that it wasn't just shooters and dark fantasy for the console with a world creator like a three dimensional Little Big Planet with it's creation and sharing aspects in the Xbox Live community. Naturally, Halo made a very brief appearance on the screen, because everyone loves it and 343 Industries carries Bungie's legacy into the next gen. After the reveal several weeks ago, it was good to see actual games this time around, and eased some of my fear that this was just going to become an "entertainment" box.

One of my favorite, and in my opinion, most intriguing things in the Microsoft conference was the cloud computing features on Xbox. Your gaming patterns being taken and an avatar of yourself being up in the cloud is amazing. Being able to play against your friends even when they're not there, also really cool. If you didn't like anything else about the conference, that feature was worth the watch.

I was disappointed, however, that Microsoft didn't address the current allegations about required online check-ins, inability to share games freely, and very limited offline gaming features. These are huge issues, and have been blown out of proportions by the community at large. The price tag of the Xbox One was also $499. Looks to me that they might be pulling a last gen Sony, with an excellent piece of hard/software but the pricing is going to turn off the gamers that are already worried about an always on Kinect spying on their family and the limited offline features.

Sony's conference later that night was stunning. They, too, showed gamers that they weren't abandoning their current platforms and even made the PS Vita an integral part of the Playstation 4 experience. They briefly reviewed the the games they showed at their reveal back in February, they showed off new games both blockbusters and indie titles, they touched on the fact that they too are an entertainment console and have Sony films and music partnered with their computer entertainment division this time around for a more complete experience. Bungie made their appearance with a gameplay look at Destiny, which looks like a beautiful social shooter experience with a taste for group events and solo/small group missions.

They revealed the box. A sleek, angular console with beautiful lines and modern design. The Playstation 4 will look good, even though you don't even need to see it.

Playstation Plus features, I was glad to discover, carried over and will be available across all of Sony's Playstation platforms with all it's features. But! unfortunately with the coming generation Playstation Plus will be required to play games online. Many PS consumers will definitely be turned off, but we will still be able to use all of Playstation's other online features free from the extra charge.

My biggest disappointment was Sony's departure from free online play, one of the biggest selling points of the current gen. I was very glad that Sony addressed the concerns of online check ins and game trading/sharing that Microsoft had us so worried about. There will be no required online to play games and no limits on trading or sharing or reselling used games. That alone may have won the conference. Also, the price tag being set at $399 won't hurt sales.

Both electronic superpowers released some great info about their upcoming consoles and I look forward to finding out more. Microsoft still needs to address the rumors of online requirements and limited sharing, and the fact that they haven't worries me. If Sony keeps going in the direction they're headed, they will be the console to beat in this generation.

Enough of my thoughts, though! What do you think? Comment below.

Logging off!
The Trickster


  1. All I want is Half Life 3. I can't afford to fork out 400/500$ for a machine that only does entertainment. Plus subscription fees for online service.

  2. Did you go to LA or just follow E3? Just curious. Great read Wade. Thanks

  3. The ability to share games and actually own the product you purchase is a huge plus for me!